North Downs Line

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Gareth4949

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Hi
I don't believe this has been discussed in any depth here before
I'm a regular user of the North Downs Line and note from next year we will have 3 services an hour
Does anyone have any details on the service patterns

Ie will there be 2 trains an hour fr Gatwick
Will the new service be a semi fast service
Will there be any enhancements in journey times

Hope someone can help
 
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Barn

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I'm not sure what is currently planned - I'm interested myself - but from the franchise specification there is a possibility of a faster service, calling Reading, Wokingham, Guildford, Dorking Deepdeen, Reigate, Redhill and Gatwick Airport (and thus skipping Blackwater and North Camp which are served by the semi-fast service).

I'm not sure whether that is actually intended or pathable, and GWR would presumably be at liberty to add extra stops in.
 

MichaelAMW

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I'm not sure what is currently planned - I'm interested myself - but from the franchise specification there is a possibility of a faster service, calling Reading, Wokingham, Guildford, Dorking Deepdeen, Reigate, Redhill and Gatwick Airport (and thus skipping Blackwater and North Camp which are served by the semi-fast service).

I'm not sure whether that is actually intended or pathable, and GWR would presumably be at liberty to add extra stops in.

Just FYI, when the fast trains from Reading to Gatwick started in 1980 - just the all stations to Tonbridge before that - they only stopped at North Camp, Guildford and Redhill. i.e. faster than that proposal.
 

swt_passenger

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GW Direct Award stakeholder brief said:

May 2017 onwards
• There will be 20 extra services on the line – made
possible by the cascade of additional rolling stock
from the Thames Valley (subject to electrification) and
infrastructure changes
• We will operate an additional second semi-fast
hourly service between Reading and Gatwick. This
will replace the peak only Shalford shuttles. The
existing semi-fast Gatwick - Reading service and
stopping Redhill-Reading services will be retained.
The enhancement recognises the importance of the
Gatwick market
• Stations benefitting from increased frequency will
include Wokingham, Guildford, Dorking Deepdene,
Reigate, Redhill and Gatwick Airport

The May 2017 service is described (in legal style, which isn't like a timetable at all) on pages 64 to 68 of the Service Level Commitment 2 agreement here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...stern-service-level-commitment-2-22032015.pdf
 
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Barn

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Just FYI, when the fast trains from Reading to Gatwick started in 1980 - just the all stations to Tonbridge before that - they only stopped at North Camp, Guildford and Redhill. i.e. faster than that proposal.

Interesting. Not even Wokingham?
 

Deepgreen

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The major omission then was Dorking, a significant town on the route. The proposed three tph is dependant on a) electrification of the GWML allowing enough 165/166s being cascaded to operate the extra workings, and; b) the additional platform (0) and the associated signalling and track layout changes being in use at Redhill. As far as I know, both are behind programme at present, but there may be time to catch up to allow the introduction of the increased timetable as planned.
 

MichaelAMW

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They were certainly stopping at Wokingham and Deepdene when I started using them in 1984.

Not according to my timetable archive: stops all day at Wokingham, Deepdene and Reigate were added at the May 1986 timetable change. That said, as I mentioned and showed above, there were additional stops at certain times of the day at a number of other stations.
 
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davetheguard

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Not according to my timetable archive: stops all day at Wokingham, Deepdene and Reigate were added at the May 1986 timetable change. That said, as I mentioned and showed above, there were additional stops at certain times of the day at a number of other stations.

Thanks MichaelAMW, as someone who used to work the Reading - Gatwick/Tonbridge line in the days of the class 119 DMU's, it was interesting to read when exactly the stopping pattern of the Gatwick trains changed, and when the extra stops at Wokingham etc. were inserted.

I also dimly seem to remember in the late 70's (before the Reading to Gatwick service even started) some sort of loco hauled train (class 33?) from Reading once a day over the line? This certainly ran as far as Redhill. But I'm not sure after that, or if memory is playing tricks; did it terminate there, or was there some sort of through train to London Bridge? Perhaps your timetable archive can help - thanks in advance!
 

30907

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I also dimly seem to remember in the late 70's (before the Reading to Gatwick service even started) some sort of loco hauled train (class 33?) from Reading once a day over the line? This certainly ran as far as Redhill. But I'm not sure after that, or if memory is playing tricks; did it terminate there, or was there some sort of through train to London Bridge? Perhaps your timetable archive can help - thanks in advance!

Indeed there were, in Tadpole days. Checking a 1967 timetable (first I could find), there were 2 each way to supplement the basic service (and I think another couple on Redhill-Tonbridge?).
They were formed TSO+BSK+TSO+GUV (lots of parcels in those days, which the Tadpoles couldn't cope with), and the memory bank throws up unbidden set numbers 11-14.
At the Reading end they had to use the through platforms for obvious reasons.
The times didn't change significantly until the Gatwick were introduced.

They didn't run to or from London Bridge - the 5.25pm London Bridge-Reading steam train ceased a couple of years before full dieselisation (I've read that it was replaced by an EMU to Reigate and a steam connection).
 

infobleep

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Indeed there were, in Tadpole days. Checking a 1967 timetable (first I could find), there were 2 each way to supplement the basic service (and I think another couple on Redhill-Tonbridge?).
They were formed TSO+BSK+TSO+GUV (lots of parcels in those days, which the Tadpoles couldn't cope with), and the memory bank throws up unbidden set numbers 11-14.
At the Reading end they had to use the through platforms for obvious reasons.
The times didn't change significantly until the Gatwick were introduced.

They didn't run to or from London Bridge - the 5.25pm London Bridge-Reading steam train ceased a couple of years before full dieselisation (I've read that it was replaced by an EMU to Reigate and a steam connection).
Fascinating reading. Thanks.

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It would be nice and useful if - Betchworth / Dorking West / Gomshall / Chilworth - got an hourly service with the new timetable.

Personally i would of thought a better idea would be to have one stopping train an hour calling at:

Redhill
Reigate
Betchworth
Dorking Deepdene
Dorking West
Gomshall
Chilworth
Shalford
Guildford
Wanborough
Ash
North Camp
Farnborough North
Blackwater
Sandhurst
Crowthorne
Wokingham
Winnersh
Winnersh Triangle
Early
Reading

And then have the two fast trains an hour both calling at:

Gatwick Airport
Redhill
Reigate
Dorking Deepdene
Guildford
Wokingham
Reading

Its just an idea but i think this would be more useful to passengers.
 

Kite159

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It would be nice and useful if - Betchworth / Dorking West / Gomshall / Chilworth - got an hourly service with the new timetable.

Personally i would of thought a better idea would be to have one stopping train an hour calling at:

Redhill
Reigate
Betchworth
Dorking Deepdene
Dorking West
Gomshall
Chilworth
Shalford
Guildford
Wanborough
Ash
North Camp
Farnborough North
Blackwater
Sandhurst
Crowthorne
Wokingham
Winnersh
Winnersh Triangle
Early
Reading

And then have the two fast trains an hour both calling at:

Gatwick Airport
Redhill
Reigate
Dorking Deepdene
Guildford
Wokingham
Reading

Its just an idea but i think this would be more useful to passengers.

At which point would a fast service catch up with the stopper? I would keep Blackwater & North Camp as a stop for one of the fast services (otherwise they will drop from 2tph to 1tph)
 

Minstral25

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It would be nice and useful if - Betchworth / Dorking West / Gomshall / Chilworth - got an hourly service with the new timetable.

Personally i would of thought a better idea would be to have one stopping train an hour calling at:

Redhill
Reigate
Betchworth
Dorking Deepdene
Dorking West
Gomshall
Chilworth
Shalford
Guildford
Wanborough
Ash
North Camp
Farnborough North
Blackwater
Sandhurst
Crowthorne
Wokingham
Winnersh
Winnersh Triangle
Early
Reading

And then have the two fast trains an hour both calling at:

Gatwick Airport
Redhill
Reigate
Dorking Deepdene
Guildford
Wokingham
Reading

Its just an idea but i think this would be more useful to passengers.

Perhaps it would be better to split the stoppers at Guildford. Have a Redhill/Tonbridge to Guildford stopper and a Guildford to Reading stopper. There is no specific need for the stopper to go all the way through as the very few requiring longer distance service could change at Guildford.

It would solve the stopper being caught up but I guess there may be parking problems at Guildford.
 

JonathanH

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Demand at North Camp and Blackwater justifies the semi-fast services stopping there although if the semi-fast service runs two trains an hour switching a stop in one service between Blackwater and Farnborough North might be worthwhile.

It is definitely not possible to run an all stations service between Reading and Redhill in between semi-fasts without passing at Guildford. Stopping at Earley, Winnersh Triangle, Winnersh and Wanborough just doesn't need to happen provided connections are good between the SWT and GWR services at Wokingham / Ash / Guildford. Again, it would cause capacity issues.

The current semi-fast service takes 65 minutes from Redhill to Reading. The 2233 from Redhill to Reading (all stations except Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle and Early) arrives at 0001 which is 88 minutes. When Cross Country ran an evening service in 2002, the 2115 from Redhill (2023 from Brighton) got to Reading (one stop at Gulldford) in 49 minutes. That is the answer to whether stoppers and fasts catch each other up.
 

Gareth4949

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I guess based on the timings above, as the slow is 23 minutes slower than the semi fast you could run a service without the slow been overtook at Guildford , if the slow service is timed to leave reading a couple of minutes after the semi fast service (each hour)

As a lot of traffic on this route seems to be end to end I'd personally like to see the extra service as a fast service potentially connecting gatwick to Reading in an hour or less, I think this would help increase the usage of this route over time

The North downs line is obviously cheaper and more convient but time wise it currently doesn't save much time compared with going into central London and back out ( if travelling from gatwick to Reading)
 

JonathanH

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I guess based on the timings above, as the slow is 23 minutes slower than the semi fast you could run a service without the slow been overtook at Guildford , if the slow service is timed to leave reading a couple of minutes after the semi fast service (each hour)

As a lot of traffic on this route seems to be end to end I'd personally like to see the extra service as a fast service potentially connecting gatwick to Reading in an hour or less, I think this would help increase the usage of this route over time

The North downs line is obviously cheaper and more convient but time wise it currently doesn't save much time compared with going into central London and back out ( if travelling from gatwick to Reading)

I think that the headways between signals mean that it isn't practical to run a stopping service in between two semi-fasts without passing at Guildford.

Also, the pathing between Reading and Wokingham is going to be tight to get two North Down's trains departing in very close succession with a more intensive Waterloo service.

Also, don't forget that the level crossing NIMBYs have a interest in all of this service enhancement on both the Reading to Waterloo and Reading to Gatwick lines and could easily object.
 

FenMan

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It would be nice and useful if - Betchworth / Dorking West / Gomshall / Chilworth - got an hourly service with the new timetable.

Personally i would of thought a better idea would be to have one stopping train an hour calling at:

Redhill
Reigate
Betchworth
Dorking Deepdene
Dorking West
Gomshall
Chilworth
Shalford
Guildford
Wanborough
Ash
North Camp
Farnborough North
Blackwater
Sandhurst
Crowthorne
Wokingham
Winnersh
Winnersh Triangle
Early
Reading

And then have the two fast trains an hour both calling at:

Gatwick Airport
Redhill
Reigate
Dorking Deepdene
Guildford
Wokingham
Reading

Its just an idea but i think this would be more useful to passengers.

Hmm. Blackwater has excellent road connections (A30 and A331, with J4 of the M3 close by) and car parking facilities. Effectively it's the railhead for passengers living in Blackwater, Darby Green, Frogmore, Yateley, a large chunk of Camberley, Cove and Hawley. That would be a population of 50,000+. The latest entries/exits figures show passenger usage exceeding 500,000 a year and the Gatwick semi-fasts are well used here.

Any move to degrade the Blackwater service would be met with fierce resistance!

*Bizarrely, the next station, Farnborough North, in recent years has been reported as having 600,000+ usage a year, up from a more realistic 300,000 or so. This looks like a statistical frig, as many tickets are to "Farnborough Stations" and the statisticians have, in my opinion, weighed North's usage more than a little heavily compared with Farnborough Main. Farnborough North is likely to remain a backwater because it's on the eastern tip of the town, road access is poor (it's landlocked on one side and there's only a barrow crossing to get to the Guildford platform) and parking facilities are non-existent.
 

infobleep

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Demand at North Camp and Blackwater justifies the semi-fast services stopping there although if the semi-fast service runs two trains an hour switching a stop in one service between Blackwater and Farnborough North might be worthwhile.

It is definitely not possible to run an all stations service between Reading and Redhill in between semi-fasts without passing at Guildford. Stopping at Earley, Winnersh Triangle, Winnersh and Wanborough just doesn't need to happen provided connections are good between the SWT and GWR services at Wokingham / Ash / Guildford. Again, it would cause capacity issues.

The current semi-fast service takes 65 minutes from Redhill to Reading. The 2233 from Redhill to Reading (all stations except Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle and Early) arrives at 0001 which is 88 minutes. When Cross Country ran an evening service in 2002, the 2115 from Redhill (2023 from Brighton) got to Reading (one stop at Gulldford) in 49 minutes. That is the answer to whether stoppers and fasts catch each other up.
Interestingly the 23.21, along with the 6.20, 7.12, 8.20 and 9.32 are the only week day trains from Wanborough to go to Reading. On a Saturday there is only the 23.22 and nothing on a Sunday at all. Incidentally the 23.22 takes 39 minutes this Saturday where as traveling this Sunday and changing trains, takes 1 hour and 12 minutes. That's an increase of 33 minutes in travel time. That's every two hours.

The alternative hours National Rail Enquiries suggests traveling via Ash Vale and walking to North Camp. This is also 1 hour 12 minutes but their's no ticket available for sale.

For Sundays at least, it doesn't seem passenger friendly in terms of connections.

The 5.54, 16.04, 17.04 and 23.34 are the only week day trains from Reading to Wanborough. On a Saturday the only service is the 23.21 and no service exists on a Sunday.

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--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I think that the headways between signals mean that it isn't practical to run a stopping service in between two semi-fasts without passing at Guildford.

Also, the pathing between Reading and Wokingham is going to be tight to get two North Down's trains departing in very close succession with a more intensive Waterloo service.

Also, don't forget that the level crossing NIMBYs have a interest in all of this service enhancement on both the Reading to Waterloo and Reading to Gatwick lines and could easily object.
There's a solution to the Waterloo services. Run less of them. <D

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Deepgreen

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--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

There's a solution to the Waterloo services. Run less of them. <D

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]

'Fewer' of them. Even so, this doesn't get around the problem of fast/semi-fast NDL trains needing to overtake the slows at Guildford, which, although possible, is almost certain to be rejected as too risky from a service organisation standpoint.
 

JonathanH

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--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

There's a solution to the Waterloo services. Run less of them. <D

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'Fewer' of them. Even so, this doesn't get around the problem of fast/semi-fast NDL trains needing to overtake the slows at Guildford, which, although possible, is almost certain to be rejected as too risky from a service organisation standpoint.

Is it really that difficult? Guildford - Ascot trains reverse at Guildford for about five minutes in each half hour. That blocks up platform 6 for a while. Assuming stopping services run on opposite sides of the hour, they have plenty of time to stand in platform 6 between the faster services. The Gatwick-bound services can use platform 4 and be timed to avoid Portsmouth services, Reading-bound services can use platform 8. The current xx10 path through Guildford platform 4 used by the Gatwick service would appear to be available at xx40.

The constraining factor would appear to be keeping the stock utilisation on the Reading to Redhill 'slow' limited to 3 units.
 

Deepgreen

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Is it really that difficult? Guildford - Ascot trains reverse at Guildford for about five minutes in each half hour. That blocks up platform 6 for a while. Assuming stopping services run on opposite sides of the hour, they have plenty of time to stand in platform 6 between the faster services. The Gatwick-bound services can use platform 4 and be timed to avoid Portsmouth services, Reading-bound services can use platform 8. The current xx10 path through Guildford platform 4 used by the Gatwick service would appear to be available at xx40.

The constraining factor would appear to be keeping the stock utilisation on the Reading to Redhill 'slow' limited to 3 units.

I don't think it's difficult, but NR's infamously risk-averse pathing regime will probably disagree.
 
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